Fred Sampson's Radio Weblog
a card-carrying member of the reality-based community


Contact Fred:


I listen to IT Conversations


Subscribe to "Fred Sampson's Radio Weblog" in Radio UserLand.

Click to see the XML version of this web page.

Click here to send an email to the editor of this weblog.

Electronic Freedom Foundation



  Monday, June 30, 2003

A Push From Homeland Security. To much of Silicon Valley, the government's mandate to improve homeland security looks as if it could be the next-best thing to the dot-com heyday. By Steve Lohr. [New York Times: Technology]

The comparison of the DHS to the dot-com is a more accurate than the article's author admits. Consider the history of Silicon Valley in the last 30 years, first driven by the defense industry, which still provided significant employment even during the early days of the personal computer (the 1980s for you youngsters). And during those years--the Reagan Era--the biggest defense employment driver was Star Wars, a program ambitiously based in high-technology, but one that would never work in practice. I knew people happily making a living in that industry in the sure and certain knowledge that what they were doing would never work. But it was a job, it paid the mortgage, and sent the kids to college.

The defense industry in Silicon Valley died off (not completely), and high-tech computing and high-growth web companies took over as the major employers, eventually driven by false hopes in a premise that wouldn't work: the dot.coms and the era of 2+2=5^2. Again, some people knew it wasn't real, but it sure paid the bills. That bubble imploded, and now we're faced with the prospect of increased employment by another defense industry, this time homeland defense and high-tech security. Which is yet another goal that cannot be achieved through the magic of high-technology, but it could certainly employ a lot of people for a long time, and pay some past-due bills and humungous mortgages, and send some more kids to college.

But here's a twist: the other up-and-coming high-tech industry of growth for Silicon Valley is biotechnology. Which has been struggling with the make-it-big-or-die model of drug development. But what if homeland defense (oh, how I hate that phrase) as supported by the Bush administration depended not just on computing and security technology but on defense against bioterrorism--just imagine the potential windfall with a double-whammy of security and biotech rooted in Silicon Valley. Zowie! Just show me where to invest what's left of my 401k, and point me toward that employment interview line!

10:13:23 PM    Questions? Comments? Flames? []

So there's an article in the current (July 2003) issue of Business 2.0 (a magazine that I've grown to respect despite it's ownership (AOL/TW)) that proclaims the "next BIG thing" in wireless is not WiFi but cellular: "But forget the hype and hysteria over Wi-Fi. . ." And I read repeated proclamations that there's no profitable business model to charging for web access through Wi-Fi hot-spots. But making money is not always dependent on charging for the service provided--hey, now that I have a PowerBook with integral Airport card, I will select my next hotel based on whether it has WiFi or not.

Free Wi-Fi Gets Results. For a while here, we've been arguing that there are plenty of benefits to retail establishments that offer free WiFi access to their patrons. Glenn Fleishman of Wi-Fi Networking News has always appeared to agree with this sentiment, so it's no surprise to see that he's one of the first journalists to write an article looking into the actual benefits received to places that offer free WiFi. He discovered that many places say that the free internet access has a payback period of less than a year. It brings in new customers, who often buy more (or stay in hotel rooms that would otherwise go unused). In restaurants and cafes, it also tends to bring in customers during traditionally slow business hours. And, of course, all of this doesn't even begin to touch on the fact that there are tremendous benefits for workers at such places to make use of the WiFi access themselves. Yet another example to show to people who say that there are no business models based on "free". [Techdirt Corporate Intelligence: Techdirt Wireless]

3:12:29 PM    Questions? Comments? Flames? []

Justice Dept. wants more from Oracle. The software maker gets a second request for information from federal regulators looking for antitrust red flags in Oracle's hostile bid for rival PeopleSoft. [CNET]

2:17:53 PM    Questions? Comments? Flames? []

Click here to visit the Radio UserLand website. © Copyright 2002-2005 Fred Sampson.
Last update: 5/21/05; 10:18:32 PM.

June 2003
Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
8 9 10 11 12 13 14
15 16 17 18 19 20 21
22 23 24 25 26 27 28
29 30          
May   Jul

Search this site:

Fred's Blogroll

ACLU Safe and Free

What I'm Reading:

The WeatherPixie